Nintendo’s 3D Classics on the 3DS have been in conception since 2009. They’re developed in collaboration with Arika, who also developed the Endless Ocean games in collaboration with Nintendo.
The first title suggested for the 3D Classics treatment was Namco Bandai’s Xevious, an Iwata Asks interview reveals. Xevious and Excitebike are the first of six — at least for now — 3D Classics that will eventually make their way to the 3DS. The six were chosen on the basis of how good they’d look in 3D, and converting them involves a considerable amount of rework depending on the game.
“In the original version, the game unfolds on a flat surface,” says Nintendo’s Takao Nakano about Xevious. “The moment we made [the ship in Xevious] Solvalou float in midair, all sorts of discrepancies arose.”
“For example,” Nakano elaborated, “when an enemy on the ground fired at Solvalou in the original, everything was on the same plane, so it didn’t seem unusual if the bomb appeared at the same altitude as Solvalou the moment it was fired and then hit Solvalou right away. But with the Nintendo 3DS system, Solvalou is floating in midair. If the bomb suddenly appears — zhing! — at the same altitude as Solvalou… We were like, ‘Huh? Something doesn’t feel right!’ (laughs) Everything was off!”
Turning on the 3D depth effect also threw caused the game to look visually odd when Solvalou fired at opponents at ground level, as bombs in the original game went off the instant they were released. For the 3D Classics version, a delay had to be implemented, taking into account the 3D space between Solvalou and opponents. For Xevious, Nakano reveals, Arika re-did the game’s artwork and coding from scratch.
Urban Champion was “officially” announced as the third of the six 3D Classics last week. Japan got the game this week. Several more 3D Classics “concepts” of games like The Legend of Zelda and Metroid were shown off at E3 2010, but these aren’t actually confirmed to be in development.